In a world becoming wired not only for sound and pictures, but for data and combinations of all three media, NEMA has released the North American standard for the next level of telecommunication cables: NEMA WC 66-1999, Performance Standard for Cat. 6 and Cat. 7, 100 Ohm Shielded and Unshielded Twisted Pair Cables.

“This is an extremely important standard, not only for the wire and cable industry, but for the telecommunication industry, and by extension the public. That is, after all, what is being wired together,” says NEMA President Malcolm O’Hagan. So-called category cables are used for the transmission of voice and data in a telecom environment. Developed by the Premise Wiring Subcommittee of the NEMA High Performance Wire and Cable Section, WC 66 defines minimum electrical performance and allowable conductor sizes, standing, and shielding for premise wiring cables. The cables may be used for voice, data, and video applications requiring bandwidths up to 200 MHz for Cat. 6 cable and 600 MHz for Cat. 7.

Frank Peri, president of Communications Design Corporation and a member of the Premise Wiring Subcommittee, says the need for high performance communications cable in the market place is evident. “End-users need high performance cables for current and future high-speed networks, or what we call ‘future-proofing,’ that is, protection from having to re-cable in the future. These cable designs should be able to support any copper-based application for the next ten years. Anybody in a commercial building environment requiring use of local area networks—businesses of all kinds, hospitals, universities, and other institutions—will find this standard invaluable.”